The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Today, I am interviewing fellow Wild Rose Press author, Joanna Aislin. Joanna's debut novel No Matter Why is available to buy right now and sounds a great read. I love it when a book has brewed in a writer's head for so just know they are writing completely from the heart, which is just want all romance readers want from their writers...welcome, Joanna!!!

Who am I?
An avid reader who decided maybe she could do this too! Actually, my writing roots stretch back to my early teenage days, but life got in the way until ten years ago, when the story playing out in my head insisted I put it down on virtual paper. I’ve been writing and honing my craft ever since. No Matter Why (The Wild Rose Press),my debut novel, hit the virtual shelves on January 15, 2010. I’m an East Coaster who lives with her husband, two boys and three cats who lately seems to live at the laptop. This week I’m on vacation from school, and hope to write turn the tables and write more story than reports! I’m also learning all I can about promo, working on building my web presence trying to get to those pesky home projects that get swept to the wayside when the day job calls!

So you, Rachel, asked:
1) What is your writing routine?

Write whenenever I can, but mostly in the early morning when the rest of my family is asleep. I used to get a lot done in the evening, too, when my kids were younger and went to bed earlier. Those days are long gone.

2) Which author/s inspire you to write?

No one in particular—I like so many! Coming across a local booksigning (Leanne Pappas, Eternity’s Song) and being invited to a personal friend’s launch party (Paul Morabito, Plane Hell) convinced me writing was something within my reach. It was then I started to believe.

Now that the bug has bitten me big-time, I have no choice but to continue writing! Being in contact with so many authors, in my local organization (Liberty States Fiction Writers) and online in my loops and other groups keeps me inspired!

3) Which is your favorite romance subgenre to read? To write?

I’m a contemporary girl at heart, but I definitely enjoy reading a good historical and have recently been branching out into some paranormals. Sci-fi can be cool, too.

For now, writing contemporary romance is challenge enough. My current wip, however, promises to push my hesitant little toes into the world of suspense.

4) How do you deal with criticism/rejection?

Not as well as I’d like, and not that I mind receiving it. I do, however, often have to take a step back and really grasp what the person giving the critique is trying to convey. It’s not so much that I can’t hear what someone else has to say; I end up shifting into self-doubt at both a conscious and/or unconscious level. That can definitely mess with any ideas flowing and has led to some bouts of writer’s block.

5) What do you expect from an editor?

My wonderful Vicky Reed at The Wild Rose Press spoiled me so. We exchanged ideas in a mutually respectful way, and as our working relationship grew she listened to me more and more. She also seemed to become more open to my vision and/or thoughts on a given subject. (She probably grew weary of my lengthy explanations for every idea I wanted to keep, lol.)

So, in answer to your question, Rachel:

First and foremost, I hope to work back and forth with an editor (or agent), not just be told what to do or not to do.

Second, I like my vision considered because no one can really see the story as I do;

Third, I do love to be exposed to an editor’s ideas because I tend to see the story the (one) way I do. Someone else’s ideas help expand my vision. (Since I’m not good at coming up with an idea seed, I like having one offered. One of my strengths is being able to take it and sprout it into an idea all my own.)

6) Tell me about your latest release.

NO MATTER WHY (The Wild Rose Press) is my debut. The story played in my head for a very long time, waiting until I had confidence enough to put it down on virtual paper. It’s a sweet romance about Carrie Norwell, a young woman who needs to learn to trust that those she loves won’t be lost to her, as most of her family already has (to both natural causes and murder). Of course, she’s helped along in her journey by the love of my writer’s life, Billy Jay Eldridge, the confident-but-never-cocky all American guy who falls for her.

7) Tease us with a blurb or short excerpt.

Quick scene set up:
Carrie Norwell, who’s isolated herself for five years after the murders of her brother and her father’s natural death that same day, takes a chance and goes to a movie with Jessica. The two met on campus the day before. After the show, they head off to the diner, where they might be joined by Jessica’s brother and his girlfriend.

(Carrie’s) gaze darted around the diner as she spoke and zoned in on the entry door as it opened. She recognized Monica, from PharmSmart.
Jessica looked up, spotted Monica and waved.
Monica smiled and walked over.
“Will said you’d meet us at the movies,” Jessica said.
“Your brother forgot I work late tonight. He texted you about us meeting you here.”
Jessica searched through her bag until she found her phone. “I forgot to turn it on after the movie ended.” She made room for Monica on her side of the booth.
“As soon as I get back from the bathroom,” Monica said. She turned to Carrie first. “How’ve you been? We all wondered what happened to you.”
“I didn’t know you two knew each other,” Jessica said.
Monica provided the information. “Carrie used to work at PharmSmart.”
The waitress came with their orders. Carrie took her drink, grateful for a few moments to gather her thoughts.
“What a small world,” Jessica said. “Monica is Will’s girlfriend. Where is he, anyway?”
“Parking the car. He’ll be right in.” Monica left for the restrooms.
Carrie shifted in her seat. Maybe Monica’s appearance unsettled her because it reminded Carrie of Billy Jay. The thought of meeting Jessica’s brother unnerved her, too.
“Hey, Will,” Jessica said. “I’m glad you came.”
Carrie glanced up and froze in her seat.
Billy Jay Eldridge flashed his gorgeous grin and covered the short distance from door to booth.
Carrie started shaking. She stirred her cup too fast and sloshed her drink onto the saucer. The whole thing tipped and steaming liquid went everywhere. She scrambled up and back to evade the mess dripping off the table toward her lap, but she wasn't fast enough.
She grabbed her napkin and pressed it from knee to knee, but the hot liquid was already in contact with her skin.
Billy Jay grabbed another napkin and laid it onto the runny mess of chocolate and whipped cream still dripping off the table. His ocean blue eyes met hers. “Are you okay?”
Carrie backed further into the booth, feeling very much the cornered cat. Her face burned hot as the cocoa. She needed to escape before she embarrassed herself any further.
Billy Jay reached out to help her.
Carrie took his hand, but kept her eyes down, careful to avoid his gaze. She stepped over the wet vinyl seat and the mess puddled on the floor.
“Did you get burned?” he asked.
She withdrew her hand and scraped together a modicum of composure. “I’m fi…I’m okay. Th-thank you.” She swiped at her pants and looked at Billy Jay’s sister.
Carrie set up her exit. “Sorry, Jessica. I…I have to go home and get out of these wet jeans.”
“Sure.” Jessica alternated curious looks between Billy Jay and Carrie. “I'll go with you. We'll come back after you change.”
“No thanks.” She grabbed her jacket, careful not to look at Billy Jay. “We’ll, uh, do this another time. Okay?”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive,” Carrie said.
“At least let Will walk you to your car.”
“No.” Carrie glanced at Billy Jay. “I’m fine. Really.”
Billy Jay trailed Carrie’s every move as she ran to the door, yanked it open and disappeared.
Jess’ chin lowered nearly to her chest as she fixed him with a questioning look.
Monica returned just as a busboy finished wiping the seat. She slipped into the space Carrie vacated. “What’s going on?”
Billy Jay glanced at Jess with a silent promise to fill her in later. “Carrie spilled hot chocolate on her jeans and went home.” He fought the urge to go after her and sat next to Monica instead.
“Feel like sharing an appetizer?” Monica slid her hand into his. “I’m not very hungry.”
“Neither am I,” said Billy Jay, his gaze on the exit. He caught Jess’s look and checked his tone. “Whatever you want is fine.”

8) Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?

That’s such a tough one. I like to think there’s something special about each one. I tend to go to my heroes as my favorites. Billy Jay is my first so he’s got a place all his own, kind of like my firstborn child. His buddy Jack Donovan—who first appeared in the initial work that ended up spurring the creation of NO MATTER WHY—takes the lead in the sequel. He’s been my biggest—and happiest—surprise to date. I also happen to love Jess, Billy Jay’s sister. Her story should be after my current wip, as yet untitled, which showcases Billy Jay’s partner Trent and his wife, Rosella, who we meet in NO MATTER WHY. Anyone confused yet?

9) What is next for you? What are you working on right now?

I think I need to go the agent route and trust that someone can help take me places I can’t alone. From the creative standpoint, I’ve completed a sequel to NO MATTER WHY and am currently working on a spinoff/sequel to that. I’m also looking again at another novel sitting in the virtual drawer—it should have been the continuation of NO MATTER WHY’s sequel, but I think will wind up being revamped as a single-title stand alone.

10) Your biggest piece of advice to aspiring novelists?

Now that my hindsight is 20/20 I can pass this on:

Keep writing that breakout novel but GET YOUR PROMO STARTED now!!! If it’s a series, have at least two of your books ready to go before submitting for publication. Put together a website, get your blog off the ground. (So many programs and free downloads make it possible to do on your own—no one was greener than I when I started—I promise. I’ll be happy to help anyone who needs help, too. Just e-mail me via my website.)

Where can readers find you?
At my website, and my blog, . Hopefully at public speaking engagements soon (watch the blog for those to be announced) and at other author websites—also announced regularly at my blog. A plus for those who subscribe: all posts, announcements, etc will go directly to your inbox!

Rachel, I do thank you for this wonderful opportunity! I also thank your readers—and mine, of course --for their time and support! You make us!


  1. Good morning all, and again I thank you, Rachel, for having me! Special thanks to my wonderful and very dear friend Maria Teresa, for the lovely photo shoot she did just the other day, the first of which is displayed here! The girl knows how to capture romance with a shutter!

    I'll be around most of the day, so please feel free to comment and ask questions :)


  2. Hi Rachel and Joanna,

    Great interview, ladies. And great advice, Joanna. Getting a book written. polished, submitted, and contracted is only the beginning of the writing process, as I've learned since being published. There's so much more to it behind the scenes when you start dealing with publicity, etc.

    And I totally agree with you about the fabulous editors at Wild Rose...mine really works WITH me and is amazingly supportive of my ideas, yet offers helpful suggestions as well.

  3. Hi Debra,

    Thanks so much for stopping by! I look forward to having you at my blog next week (4/27)!

    Have a great day!


  4. Great interview ladies! Loved the excerpt. Best of luck with No Matter Why, Joanna!

  5. I thank you, Cate. Same to you with all those books you're juggling at present!